Shining Like Stars: Counting the Cost

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Shining Like Stars: Counting the Cost

I have to confess something – I want you to like me. I want to publish the truth to accolades and atta-girls, I want my writing to be popular and shared for its insight and beauty.

Instead, this week, I spoke the truth and was rewarded with the most crushing experience of my professional life. I’ve always lauded the power of publishing – as a freshman journalism student I saw my future career as a noble one, one that sought after truth and set captives free. But when I wrote about such truth – about a God who hates evil, an evil that seeks to devour and destroy, I was harshly judged, mocked, and ridiculed to the breaking point.

Philippians 2:12-17 says: “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”

When I first referenced this verse several months ago, I had experienced a few run-ins with some angry commenters and disgruntled Facebook users. I knew that sharing truth and grace online could be dangerous, but this week, I’ve gotten a new perspective. I’ve seen more hate mail this week than ever before, because I called evil by its name in a recent post on a worldwide blog network.

On top of the indignant and angry feedback, a group of bloggers and readers called for my removal from the network. I’ve been amazed at the unleashing of such hearty hatred toward the truth. As a wise person recently told me, it’s a first-hand look at what happens when fear and anger boil over, leading to a hatred at God and at me for endeavoring to represent Him – “crooked and depraved generation”, indeed.

But am I willing to shine despite it? I have been so mournful over this spite and cruelty from my fellow man, even people whom I’ve never met and probably never will. With every reader I lose or angry comment I receive, I risk losing my nerve. Sometimes it doesn’t feel worth it to be vulnerable, to write something really true about my Lord, myself or my tightly-held beliefs. After all, do I really have to open myself up to ridicule in order to represent my Lord and my faith with honesty? Perhaps I can go back to that whole “lifestyle evangelism” thing and forget about saying explicitly what I believe.

But I’m reminded that Jesus promised us that this would happen. He guaranteed that our faithfulness and our eagerness to bring His Good News would lead to hatred, persecution and pain. Matthew 10:22-24 says: “You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes. The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master.”

If the Master, Jesus, was hated, betrayed and mocked for His teachings, can I expect any less? My trials with online meanies look brief and small in comparison to what he endured and what Christians around the world go through daily in order to represent Him well.

So I guess I’m left with a soul-searching question at the end of all this: my series here has been titled “Shining like Stars Online” and that sounds like a beautiful thing to do – to share the love and joy of Jesus with a dark and hurting online world. But as I wrap this up, I realize: what if the dark and hurting online world turns upon the messenger as quickly and ferociously as it does the Savior Himself? What do I do then, and how do I react?

I answer with shaking hands and a fearful heart. I want to be liked, but I know that I must be faithful, even through my trepidation. So I will continue in the calling and the voice that He has given me. I will represent my Lord with grace and I will not shrink back from the truth. My “crooked and depraved” generation needs Him, and who am I to deny them a glimpse at Jesus?

I pray that you’ll join me in shining like stars, no matter the cost.

Isaiah 61:1-2:

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,

because the Lord has anointed me,

to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom for the captives

and release from darkness for the prisoners,

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor

and the day of vengeance of our God.

 

Check out an earlier post in this series here

About The Author
Dani Nichols
Dani Nichols
Hi, I'm Dani. As managing editor of Trochia, my job is to edit all of our pieces and give our writers guidance with excellence, Biblical truth and gracious storytelling in mind. I love our mission and community here at Trochia and am so honored to work with this incredible team. I'm married to Adam and have beautiful baby girl, Adelay. We live in Oregon and enjoy kayaking, hiking, snowshoeing and sharing good food with friends and family.
93 Comments
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  • Christine Tyler
    December 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Remember, God loves you and what He has done for you and everyone else. Those people one day might get saved just because they see Christ through you. I pray that God gives you peace and blessses you abundantly.

  • Sonia Smith
    December 20, 2012 at 9:12 am

    GOD BLESS YOU!! I am right here with you!! The TRUTH HURTS and people HATE it..BUT WE BELIEVERS KNOW THAT AND WE CONTINUE TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT!! People hate me, too, because I SPEAK the truth, but I would rather be hated than be a LIAR!! Keep it up!!

  • Barbie Walls
    December 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

    My pastor last night said he would rather face God and have him say wow you made some people angry by speaking the word rather than God saying you sugar coated the word to be liked and lost souls. God is a just God….The truth is the key not popularity. God bless you.

  • imbldcvrd
    December 20, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Honey, The mom in me wants to love and cuddle, the weary warrior wants to bark suck it up soldier we must move on.  You are blessed and highly favored among women…… You were chosen for such a time as this….. These words are often spoken in our realms and taken as such badges of honor. I spent the first half of my walk with a stern look to whom ever may even think about saying those words to me. Some how early on I knew the weight of them. You do have a loving Father who sent you a comforter (and maybe a cup of tea, coffee, ice cream, fill in any vice here) All I can really say is do what you do in His name, not yours, and let Him handle the rest……….

  • Becky Smolski
    December 20, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Thank you, for being brave enough to speak the truth! I was weak and caved in and silenced myself! I will not do that again! I will remember your words!!!

  • Barbara Holt Guest
    December 20, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Thank you for continuing to make yourself vulnerable by sharing your thoughts and Scripture. I’ll pray that you receive the encouragement you need.

  • Kevin Kennon
    December 20, 2012 at 11:30 am

    Thank you. I would rather speak the truth and lose friends, or even be hated, than lie and lose God in my heart.

  • civlee
    December 20, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    What is it that people were mad about?

    • Dani Nichols
      December 21, 2012 at 9:11 am

      @civlee The truth! 🙂 The details aren’t as important as my message here, which is to stand firm and speak the truth in love, even when it hurts.

  • GailWyatt
    December 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    As the apostals did you too must go on, so that God’s message sweeps the earth and every human hears its message and is given the chance to reveive Christ as their Lord and Savior, because there is no other way to heaven but by Jesus. It doesn’t matter that we are not liked, we have God and that in the end is all we need.

  • Mary Squire
    December 20, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Thank- you for your courage and integrity.God be with you. Your story is an inspiring testimony of your love and devotion to Christ. It is evident that you are growing in your faith and are willing to share in the sufferings of our Lord.

  • Kelly Henderlight Bowles
    December 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    If only one light shines in the darkness, let it be the light of Christ.

  • Marlene Smith
    December 20, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    God Bless You! It just shows that people do not want to hear the truth. Stay strong and continue on.

  • BrianFisher1
    December 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. –Matthew 5:11-12
     
    It takes a special kind of strength to stand up and proclaim righteousness. And on top of that, you displayed a special kind of grace in the face of persecution. I know it hurts to be called names and to have hate spewed all over the words you put your heart and soul into. To paraphrase a conservative voice in Texas: the more the liberals attack and smear someone, the more they perceive them to be a threat. Similarly, the devil doesn’t attack you if you’re sinning or doing what he wants you to do. 
     
    You know you’re right. Don’t be discouraged. Fight the good fight. Keep the faith.
     
    P.s. I knew that freshman journalism student 😉

  • Christina Cooper
    December 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    it means you are truly following the footsteps of our LORD!

  • Jennifer Newell
    December 20, 2012 at 5:17 pm

    I applaud you…speak the truth…Lord protect her…. in the mighty name of Jesus….

  • TaraMarieski
    December 21, 2012 at 5:49 am

    You are a much better person than I am, at this point of my life. I say that because I just had an experience with a liberal that was jarring, to say the least of things. It happened a little like this: I identified myself as being a conservative, proudly so and he really just beat me up with his words. Needless to say I was quite alarmed and my emotions took over and I started shaking with disbelief. (I have been a christian my whole life but never really wore my faith on my sleeve, so to speak until recently). He made me angry and hurt, so I cowhered inward. Then after some time had passed, I realized that some people are just scared of the things that they dont understand and it’s up to me to realize just what and who I was dealing with, I said to myself that I can’t and will not let the devil control me like that ever again.

    • Dani Nichols
      December 21, 2012 at 9:02 am

      @TaraMarieski I can completely relate, obviously! 🙂 But please know that I have also had times where I can been afraid to speak up and have allowed lies to rule the truth. I hope this post and the verses I referenced are an encouragement to you… we are in this together!
      ~Dani

    • Dani Nichols
      December 21, 2012 at 9:06 am

      @TaraMarieski I can completely relate! 🙂 I’ve also had times where I’ve allowed lies to trump truth out of fear – I can tell you that courage comes in drips and drabs for me. But, one thing I have realized after this week: that holding fast is what I am called to, and that the truth does indeed set us free.
      It’s not easy, but we are in this together! I hope my post and the verses I referenced encourage you next time you feel faint of heart. 🙂

  • JeniferHaney
    December 21, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Bless Her LORD for SHINING YOUR LOVE and TRUTH  out to GLORIFY YOUR NAME … and all Your SHINING out Dear Children …. Encourage Us and Comfort and Help Us to ” COUNT IT ALL JOY” Jas.1:2.. inspite of the crooked and depraved and blinded by sin troublers who  (if they don’t REPENT) Will only have darkness and death…. their choice….

  • RuthTemple
    December 21, 2012 at 7:16 am

    DON’T STOP PROCLAIMING THE TRUTH  JESUS IS THE WAY ,THE TRUTH ,AND THE LIFE .BROAD ARE THE PATHS TO DESTRUCTION AND HELL AND MANY GO THAT PATH ,PRECIOUS FEW GO THE RIGHTEOUS SON OF THE MOST HIGH GOD PATH TO ETERNAL LIFE. .KEEP SHINING BRIGHTLY FOR THE TRUTH IS THE TRUTH ,THEY DON’T LIKE IT BUT EVENTUALLY EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW,AND EVERY TONGUE CONFESS THAT JESUS CHRIST IS LORD …I PRAY SOONER RATHER THAN LATER .LORD HELP EACH OF US TO STAND STRONG IN OUR FAITH ,AND GIVE US THE WORDS WHEN OPPOSITION COMES ,THAT WE NEEDETH NOT TO BE ASHAMED .PROCLAIMING THE TRUTH TILL THE END AMEN

  • Quinnon DeWayne Kelly
    December 21, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Hallelujah!

  • Jo Garst-Cook
    December 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

    God will Bless you in mighty ways my dear for speaking truth into this dark dark world. Keep it up !!! Keep your head up and a smile on your beautiful face. !!!

  • dlwiseburn
    December 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I am amazed that I was not attacked for my post on Newtown Connecticut, but I have so few readers it doesn’t matter.

  • Nita Hogg
    December 26, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Hang in there. The best is yet to come….Jesus, He is coming just any moment, I believe. Many prayers with you, my friend.

  • Donna M. Knapp Kubas
    February 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    He sure did….Keep doing what your doing..Your steps are ordered by the Lord!

  • Karen Clemovich
    February 19, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    We stand with you in prayer..it is only going to get worse my friend. For there is an all out assault, just as the Scriptures Prophesied there would be. Against God YHWH. His Appointed and Annointed King, and all those that follow Him. It is only beginning! Stay close to the Heart of the Father for through the fire, through the flood we must go.

  • Leon E. Armstrong
    February 19, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Spiritual Encouragement is must among Fellow Believers. Keep the Faith!!! {Pray, Read, Study & Understand.} May God Bless Everyone!!! Deuteronomy 18:18 & Psalm 1:1
    1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
    18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. (Our Lord shall since His Word.)

  • Hasani Sengstacke
    February 19, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    What happened?

  • Ingrid M Curran
    February 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    They hated Jesus so you are in good company,stay strong and have Faith in the Word. God bless,you If Jesus is for us who can be against us? 🙂

  • Mari Radetski
    February 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Please do not stop. God is on your side. I will continue to pray for strenght from the Holy Spirit to be your yours. Let Jesus’ voice be heard through you. Thanks!

  • Gail Hoover
    February 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    Do what is right. It is all that matters to our Lord.

  • Hazel Mellen
    February 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    amen. stay strong.

  • Pam Sorensen Petersen
    February 19, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I love your page and I will pray for you and the trouble makers/non-believers….

  • Jerry D Huson
    February 19, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    Not surprising. You are a light & inspiration for many- many!

  • Wendy Irwin
    February 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Stay Strong and Raise above them!!

  • Darlene Barton
    February 19, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    So true. Jesus, said if they hate me, I’m in you, they will hate you also!

  • Lorrie Gilbert
    February 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    The truth always hurts, people are convicted of their sins. Its srirs the heart into repentance. People always need to hear the truth.

  • Roberta Bauer
    February 19, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Stay strong …KEEP speaking out!!!

  • Gina Santana
    February 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    You Keep Shining For Your God Almighty Sister * TROCHIA* In Christ God Bless You In Everything Beautiful That Comes From Our God Almighty

  • Jackie Williams
    February 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    They will hate you because they hate Him. But He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. God bless you.

  • Julie Lowe
    February 19, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I doubt you are doing this to be ‘liked’. You said yourself ‘the arrows will come…’ How many times do we see in the Bible ‘fear not…’. Stand firm and know that there are so many you reach and encourage and reinforce against those arrows. Thank you!

  • Karen Puckett
    February 19, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    Your work in the Lord is not in vain! We will lift u up in prayer friend!

  • Patsy McCracken
    February 19, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Yes He tells us this will be so put your faith in Him for He will give you the strength to face it

  • Vincent Archuleta
    February 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    It’s probably the same people that want full term abortions and same sex marriage. You keep on keeping on yo don’t know how my life is refreshed when you post this material. It gets me thinking and if it gets me thinking it gets others thinking. If there reading it it’s obviously effective because there getting offended. May the dear Lord bless you and your mission to teach the good news. amen

  • Oze Lee Renfro
    February 19, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    praise god , amen

  • Belinda Floyd Reynolds
    February 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    May God’s will be done

  • Trinidad Magana
    February 19, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    Shine, Trochia, SHINE, for our God, the LORD is with you! Amen!

  • Jeff White
    February 19, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    amen praise god

  • Carole Walker
    February 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    praise GOD….be strong

  • Sonia Smith
    February 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    You just keep on doing what you’re doing…GOD KNOWS ALL AND SEES ALL..AND MAY HE RICHLY BLESS YOU FOR DOING HIS WILL!! AMEN!

  • Elaine Meadows Pannell
    February 19, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    Yes, He did…

  • Joe Womble
    February 19, 2013 at 2:09 pm

    Jesus Is Lord!!!

  • Rebecca Ann Terry
    February 19, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Well don`t see nothing u did wrong ?? Must be them ? God Bless 🙂

  • Mimi Weldon
    February 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    yes, HE did

  • Cheryl Roynon
    February 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I’m glad they were not successful

  • Gloria J. Greb
    February 19, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Persecution follows all who preach the Good News. Never give up.

  • Nikki Mae Rushing
    February 19, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    Keep up the good work.

  • Stella Garcia
    February 19, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Never give up.Good work.

  • SharonHarms
    February 19, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    One night the Lord gave me a Scripture verse, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6 KJV  The next morning, in poetry class, the instructor turned on me, trampled one of my poems underfoot and, without naming me, rent me head to foot for using trees in metaphor for men.  Because I was forewarned, his words did not penetrate even skin deep.  Now I have published a tiny poetry chapbook, “This Treasure – Life,” which will probably net the same result, and I’m about to publish a testimony book, autobiography type, that will likewise bring in much criticism, even from the Christian community.  It’s a ghost story as well as a Holy Ghost story, and it features demons and deliverance as well as deliverance from New Age teachings and practice.  Who will throw the first stone?  I don’t really care.  My shield is Jesus’ love for me and for whoever throws it.

  • Casalina Nady
    February 19, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    Of the Devils don’t like what they are reading tell them to leave!!! Ijs

  • Mariena Pritchett
    February 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Keep going….

  • Denise Weber
    February 19, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    People like that, Lack the knowledge and love of our heavenly Father. We should all say a prayer for them 🙂 …I think your page is very encouraging and I love reading what you post 🙂

  • Reba
    February 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    Praying with  you.   Joshua 1:9

  • Rosalie Casey
    February 19, 2013 at 4:05 pm

    But am I willing to shine despite it?” Blrdd your heart. God is able to help you through it.

  • Debbie Smolen
    February 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    God will protect his children who believe in him.. so shine on his light forever more. They dont know of him because they are blind to the truth…God Bless

  • Shirley Scoggins
    February 19, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    “They” don’t want to hear the truth, now or ever, about continued slavery tho’ it persists the world over. Yes, even here in the good old U.S.A. To acknowledge it would be to be uncivilized!!

  • Donna Chambers
    February 19, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Hang tight…

  • Lylia Hoehl
    February 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    God be with you and give

  • Lylia Hoehl
    February 19, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    You strength and wisdom.

  • Scarlett Hutchinson
    February 19, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    AMEN.

  • Ninfa Roberts
    February 19, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Love your posts

  • Marcella Jackson
    February 19, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Amen, any time you stand up for JESUS things start happening and we know who will win the battle, JESUS CHRIST REIGNS!!! HALLELUJAH!!!

  • Lois Bucsko
    February 19, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    Love your post

  • Linda Dixon
    February 19, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    God bless and be with you

  • Glenn Shirley
    February 19, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Stay the course ! Consider it all joy my brothers !

  • Betty Shinault Alderman
    February 20, 2013 at 12:30 am

    Sorry, but some people just don’t get it. Our prayer is that none of them will be left behind!

  • Joyce Thacker Mitchell
    February 20, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Amen

  • Laura Villanueva
    February 20, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Be encouraged, be strong for God is with you always.

  • Karen L Pettit
    February 21, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

  • Warren Broomall
    March 6, 2013 at 1:58 am

    I am not a good communicator. I sometimes use a wrong word and am totaly misunderstood. Actions are my way of sharing God

  • Warren Broomall
    March 6, 2013 at 1:58 am

    s love.

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